Before Jimmy and Dee Haslam bought the Browns, they were minority owners of the Steelers. At the time, that was sold as a positive: Their previous involvement with a winning franchise should give them a good idea of how to rebuild the Browns. But it hasn’t worked out that way.
Now the Haslams are admitting that their experience with the Steelers didn’t teach them much of anything, and that they didn’t know what they were doing when they bought the Browns a decade ago.
“No, no. You don’t know anything,” Dee Haslam said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Jimmy Haslam offered a similar acknowledgement.
“We did a lousy job at first,” Jimmy Haslam said. “I mean, let’s just face it. It’s probably fair to say we didn’t know what we were doing. In some ways, I go, ’10 years, we haven’t won very many games.’ So I look at it that way.”
In Deshaun Watson, the Browns now have by far their best quarterback since the Haslams bought the team. But the off-field allegations that Watson sexually abused female massage therapists cast a pall over the Browns’ decision to trade for him, and has led to more questions about whether they really understand what it takes to earn the trust of Browns fans.
Even after a decade, the Haslams still have work to do to prove they know what they’re doing.